Clemente's Iranian saga takes new and negative twist
The head of the Iranian Soccer Federation (FFI) announces that interest in the Basque is now "cancelled."20 February 2008
MADRID - When nearly two weeks ago, the Basque soccer coach Javier Clemente publicly accepted a new role in charge of the Iranian national team, the move appeared to end weeks of speculation over whether he would agree to the terms laid down by Tehran. Chief among the points for negotiation was the issue of residence, with Clemente - the former coach of Spain and Serbia - adamant that he was not going to live in Iran on a full-time basis.
But yesterday the head of the Iranian Soccer Federation (FFI) announced that interest in the Basque was now "cancelled." Ali Kafashian explained that Clemente had sent a fax on Monday to the Iranian Embassy in Madrid to say he would not accept the demand that he live in the country all year round.
"In light of the negative response from the Spanish coach, we are now evaluating the situation of other candidates," Kafashian said on Tuesday. "Right now, our domestic coaches have a bigger chance of leading Iran's national team," he added, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency.
Clemente had previously suggested that he would only need to travel to Iran "eight or 10 days before a game," but it seems that the Iranian soccer bosses stuck to their initial demand that he spend most of the year in the country, apart from a reported offer of a special two-month leave period on top of ordinary vacations.
Clemente yesterday said he had "no idea" if the FFI had changed its mind, saying if the federation "wants to break the contract, then let them do it."
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]
Subject: Spanish news